The 25 Best Places To Live In The U.S. In 2022-2023

The 25 Best Places To Live In The U.S. In 2022-2023

Devon Thorsby

 

The 25 Best Places To Live In The U.S. In 2022-2023

These metro areas offer the best combination of jobs, desirability, cost of living, quality of life and more.

The Best Places to Live in 2022

What makes a place an ideal hometown? Happy residents, plenty of job opportunities, great schools and affordable housing are often-cited factors. To determine the Best Places to Live rankings, U.S. News looks at data on the country’s 150 most populous metro areas, including the cost of living, job market, crime rates, quality of education and more. The data is weighted based on responses from a survey of approximately 3,600 people throughout the U.S. to determine what matters most to them when picking their next places to live. Read on for the 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022.

25. Nashville, Tennessee

Metro Population: 1,904,186
Median Home Price: $366,113
Average Annual Salary: $52,170

After ranking No. 30 in 2021, Nashville moves up five spots to make the top 25 this year. The biggest factor contributing to Nashville’s jump is its desirability, based on a survey of about 3,500 people throughout the U.S. who were asked where they would prefer to live, given the choice. From that survey, Nashville ranks No. 9 for desirability. While Nashville’s cost of living has been on the rise in recent decades as people continue to move to the area, it still remains fairly affordable compared to other parts of the country. Nashville-area residents spend 23.8% of the local median household income on housing expenses, making Nashville the 65th most affordable place out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S.

Learn more about Nashville.

24. Jacksonville, Florida

Metro Population: 1,533,796
Median Home Price: $303,789
Average Annual Salary: $49,940

Like many other Florida metro areas, Jacksonville is considered by many to be a desirable place to live. In the SurveyMonkey survey asking where in the U.S. respondents would prefer to live, given the choice, Jacksonville ranked 13th out of the 150 metro areas on the list. While Jacksonville is seeing plenty of people move to the area, it’s not growing as fast as other parts of Florida. The Jacksonville metro area’s population increased by 6.78% between 2016 and 2021 due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Jacksonville.

23. Salt Lake City

Metro Population: 2,522,032
Median Home Price: $458,175
Average Annual Salary: $52,094

Salt Lake City scores high for its housing affordability compared to the area’s median household income, as well as for its low crime rates, short commute and residents’ sense of well-being. The Sharecare Community Well-Being Index surveys residents throughout the U.S., asking about their overall happiness, sense of security and community pride in regard to where they live. Out of the 150 metro areas on the Best Places to Live list, Salt Lake City ranks No. 25 based on the well-being index results.

Learn more about Salt Lake City.

22. Portland, Oregon

Metro Population: 2,472,774
Median Home Price: $515,360
Average Annual Salary: $61,860

This year, Portland fell in the ranks from No. 10 to No. 22, but U.S. residents still view Portland as a highly desirable place to live, with the city ranking No. 7 in that category. Additionally, Portland-area residents report they’re pretty happy living in the Rose City, with the metro area ranking No. 13 out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. in the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index.

Learn more about Portland.

21. Albany, New York

Metro Population: 880,766
Median Home Price: $279,971
Average Annual Salary: $58,880

New York City may be the most populous metro area in the U.S., but New York’s capital offers more affordability, lower crime rates and a shorter average commute. The typical morning commute for Albany-area residents is just 23.3 minutes. Plus, the air quality in Albany ranks above 126 other metro areas on the Best Places to Live list, based on the U.S. Air Quality Index, reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Learn more about Albany.

20. Melbourne, Florida

Metro Population: 594,001
Median Home Price: $217,400
Average Annual Salary: $51,740

Melbourne takes the No. 20 spot in the Best Places to Live ranking this year, largely due to its rapid population growth from net migration. From 2016 to 2021, the Melbourne metro area grew by 8.14% due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Melbourne metro area also ranks 19th out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for college readiness among high school students, based on data from the U.S. News Best High Schools ranking.

Learn more about Melbourne.

19. Washington, D.C.

Metro Population: 6,250,309
Median Home Price: $521,277
Average Annual Salary: $77,210

The District of Columbia jumps nine spots this year to No. 19, with a perpetually high-ranking job market, strong marks for college readiness among high school students and overall happiness among residents. Washington ranks third out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. in the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index, behind San Francisco and San Jose, California. Low unemployment compared to the rest of the U.S. and an average annual salary of $77,210 makes Washington the second-best job market in the U.S., after San Jose.

Learn more about Washington.

18. Boston

Metro Population: 4,854,808
Median Home Price: $632,943
Average Annual Salary: $73,850

At No. 18 on the overall Best Places to Live list, Boston gets especially high marks for its quality of life. On that ranking, which factors in many details people consider important when moving to a new city, including quality of education, proximity to quality health care, crime, commute, air quality and the general well-being of residents, Boston takes the No. 7 spot. Still, living in a major U.S. city has its downsides: The Boston metro area is the 25th-most expensive out of the 150 most-populous places in the U.S.

Learn more about Boston.

17. Madison, Wisconsin

Metro Population: 660,212
Median Home Price: $348,940
Average Annual Salary: $57,680

Madison takes the No. 17 spot in the Best Places to Live ranking, in large part due to the metro area’s quality of life scores. This Wisconsin metro area ranks sixth for quality of life overall, and 17th for residents’ sense of well-being, based on the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index. Madison’s residents also benefit from a short morning commute, spending just 22 minutes, on average, getting to work in the morning.

Learn more about Madison.

16. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Metro Population: 1,069,696
Median Home Price: $296,730
Average Annual Salary: $49,700

If you’re looking for a more affordable place to live, the Grand Rapids metro area in western Michigan may be the right place for you. Grand Rapids-area residents spend just 20.71% of the median household income on housing expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities. Additionally, Grand Rapids high school students rank No. 29 out of the 150 metro areas on the list for college readiness, tied with students in Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin.

Learn more about Grand Rapids.

15. Boise, Idaho

Metro Population: 730,483
Median Home Price: $221,475
Average Annual Salary: $49,010

Idaho’s capital makes the list with high scores for population growth due to net migration, quality of life and housing affordability compared with median annual household income. Residents need just 23.15% of the median household income to cover rent or mortgage payments, as well as additional housing costs like property taxes and utilities. Boise scores lower, however, in desirability among U.S. residents considering where they want to live.

Learn more about Boise.

14. Des Moines, Iowa

Metro Population: 690,585
Median Home Price: $273,134
Average Annual Salary: $55,660

At No. 14, Des Moines is another metro area that’s particularly appealing for its low cost of living – a detail more people are weighing heavily in recent years as they look to move to a new part of the country. Des Moines-area residents spend 21.03% of the local median annual household income on housing costs. Des Moines residents who leave the house for work also benefit from having the 12th-shortest average commute out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S., at just 20.7 minutes.

Learn more about Des Moines.

13. Austin, Texas

Metro Population: 2,173,804
Median Home Price: $377,693
Average Annual Salary: $57,830

After ranking in the top 5 for six years in a row, Austin falls to the No. 13 spot in the Best Places to Live ranking for 2022-2023. The rising cost of living has taken its toll on many who would like to live in the Austin metro area, and as such it has become less desirable, as reflected in the survey asking U.S. residents where they would prefer to live. Still, Austin has plenty to offer, and the metro area is seeing continued long-term population growth due to net migration.

Learn more about Austin.

12. Naples, Florida

Metro Population: 379,345
Median Home Price: $345,000
Average Annual Salary: $50,040

Located on the southern end of Florida’s Gulf Coast, where the Everglades begin, Naples doesn’t attract the same number of tourists as Miami or Tampa, but many people want to move there – and plenty are doing so already. The population of Naples increased by 9.06% between 2016 and 2021 due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Another positive is the air quality in Naples: The metro area ranks 14th out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. based on its AQI score.

Learn more about Naples.

11. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Metro Population: 368,385
Median Home Price: $270,567
Average Annual Salary: $59,200

Most people recognize this metro area in southeastern Michigan as home of the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor is the No. 1 metro area on the list for quality of life, with particularly high scores for education, health care, well-being and air quality. Ann Arbor receives the fifth-highest score out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for its access to quality health care based on data from the U.S. News Best Hospitals ranking. Ann Arbor’s high school students also appear ready for higher education, as the metro area ranks fifth in college readiness.

Learn more about Ann Arbor.

10. San Francisco

Metro Population: 4,709,220
Median Home Price: $1,047,714
Average Annual Salary: $81,840

San Francisco is frequently near the top of the Best Places to Live ranking, in large part due to its strong job market. The area has the third-best job market out of the 150 metro areas on the list, following its Bay Area neighbor, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. San Francisco’s average annual salary is $81,840. It also ranks fifth out of the 150 metro areas on the list for desirability, based on the survey of approximately 3,500 people throughout the U.S.

Learn more about San Francisco.

9. Sarasota, Florida

Metro Population: 821,613
Median Home Price: $387,630
Average Annual Salary: $48,180

Sarasota maintains its spot at No. 9 from 2021. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota is the 10th-most desirable place to live on the list. People are also acting on that desire, as Sarasota is the third-fastest growing metro area out of the 150 places ranked, behind only Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Lakeland, Florida. From 2016 to 2021, Sarasota saw a population increase of 12.01% due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Sarasota.

8. Portland, Maine

Metro Population: 536,314
Median Home Price: $310,300
Average Annual Salary: $55,790

The most populous metro area in Maine holds the same No. 8 spot from 2021 due to its quality of life, fairly steady job market and growing reputation as a desirable place to live. For quality of life, factoring in college readiness among high school students, proximity to quality health care, crime, air quality, average commute time and residents’ overall well-being, Portland ranks 10th out of the 150 metro areas on the list. Portland ranks No. 4 for its low rates of property crime, violent crime and murder, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and No. 12 for air quality, based on the EPA’s Air Quality Index.

Learn more about Portland.

7. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Metro Population: 526,101
Median Home Price: $203,150
Average Annual Salary: $50,470

This fast-growing metro area in Arkansas has long been a strong contender in the Best Places to Live ranking – and this year is no different. A low cost of living compared with household income, strong population growth due to net migration and relatively steady job market all contribute to Fayetteville’s ranking at No. 7 in 2022. Fayetteville-area residents spend just 20.56% of the median household income on housing expenses.

Learn more about Fayetteville.

6. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Metro Population: 1,999,253
Median Home Price: $369,707
Average Annual Salary: $59,174

The Raleigh and Durham metro area continues to be an attractive place for people to relocate, thanks to its affordability and job market. Research, technology, education and health care are consistently growing industries in the area. The Raleigh and Durham metro area falls from its 2021 spot at No. 2 on the overall Best Places to Live list in large part due to its lower ranking for desirability, but that doesn’t mean people have stopped moving to the metro area. From 2016 to 2021, the Raleigh and Durham metro area grew by 5.75% due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Raleigh and Durham.

5. San Jose, California

Metro Population: 1,985,926
Median Home Price: $1,302,118
Average Annual Salary: $93,450

Best known for its key role in the tech industry as the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose jumps 31 spots this year to rank the No. 5 Best Place to Live in the U.S. Living comfortably in San Jose requires a big paycheck, but the plethora of high-paying jobs means that’s not a problem for many residents. In addition, San Jose high school students rank the highest out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for college readiness, and the metro area ranks second for overall well-being.

Learn more about San Jose.

4. Boulder, Colorado

Metro Population: 324,682
Median Home Price: $528,833
Average Annual Salary: $70,450

After ranking No. 1 out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for two years, Boulder drops to No. 4. Boulder has a strong job market and gets high marks for quality of life. Boulder’s high school education ranks second for college readiness, behind San Jose. Though like San Jose, Boulder is a pricey place to live, with a cost of living that requires 27.26% of the median household income. Boulder residents enjoy a high quality of life with the mountains at their doorstep and an average annual salary of $70,450.

Learn more about Boulder.

3. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Metro Population: 320,827
Median Home Price: $181,700
Average Annual Salary: $50,020

Best known as the hometown of the Packers NFL team, Green Bay is situated roughly 100 miles north of Milwaukee. In the Best Places to Live ranking, Green Bay scores highest for its low cost of living compared to the area’s median household income. Green Bay residents spend just 20.03% of the median household income on rent or mortgage payments, along with additional costs including taxes and utilities.

Learn more about Green Bay.

2. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Metro Population: 735,480
Median Home Price: $455,371
Average Annual Salary: $55,540

Long tied with the likes of Honolulu and other popular vacation destinations in the U.S. for desirability, Colorado Springs stands alone as the most desirable place to live in 2022. Steady population growth due to net migration and a consistently strong job market boost Colorado Springs to the No. 2 spot in the Best Places to Live ranking this year. However, the climbing cost of living has diminished the metro area’s affordability, with residents spending 25.96% of the area’s median household income on housing expenses.

Learn more about Colorado Springs.

1. Huntsville, Alabama

Metro Population: 464,607
Median Home Price: $192,667
Average Annual Salary: $58,730

Huntsville rises from No. 3 in 2021 to the No. 1 Best Place to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023, thanks to its strong job market and low cost of living – a winning combination for many people looking to relocate. This northern Alabama metro area is the third-most affordable place to live out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S., and is home to many companies focused on science, technology, engineering and math, which contributes to a higher average annual salary for the local population.

Learn more about Huntsville.

The Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022:

  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • San Jose, California
  • Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Portland, Maine
  • Sarasota, Florida
  • San Francisco
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Naples, Florida
  • Austin, Texas
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Boston
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Melbourne, Florida
  • Albany, New York
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Salt Lake City
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Nashville, Tennessee.

See the full rankings.

Source: usnews.com

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